Counterfeiting has been meeting the interest of the scientific community for quite a long time, both from a demand-side and a supply-side perspective. When focusing on young consumers, in particular as far as non-deceptive counterfeiting (i.e. awareness of purchasing a counterfeit) is concerned, researchers mainly concentrate on university students. Very few studies involve the medium-adolescence phase, time when the reinforcement of the learning process and the individual auto-determination take place. We are therefore in presence of a target with peculiar psycho-social characteristics, which deserve a deeper analysis. The present paper is aimed at addressing such a gap. The main goal is to deepen the comprehension of motives and consumption practices with regard to counterfeiting. After a critical review of the existing literature on the topic, methodology, findings, implications and limits of the research are detailed. Research design has been set to include the simultaneous presence of an exploratory and a descriptive phase: one focus groups was initially carried out and subsequently, based on a face-to-face administered questionnaire, more than 700 interviews were gathered; collected data were subsequently interpreted by mean of uni-variate and multivariate statistical techniques. Starting from the theoretical and methodological framework depicted, the research allowed to answer a number of research questions and to advance conclusions which envisage, on the contrary of what someone could expect, similarities rather than differences with adults. More precisely: 1. young consumers show differentiated motives towards counterfeiting, encompassing price-determinants as well as non-price determinant ones; 2. purchase repetition of counterfeited products is weakly affected by the previous behavior of young consumers; 3. purchase of counterfeited products is not always recognized by young consumers as a misbehavior. The research has an exploratory valence; notwithstanding a remarkable sample dimension, selection criteria of sample units referred to a non probabilistic method, being the probabilistic one not viable due to organizing and economic constraints.
Keywords: Non-deceptive counterfeiting; young consumers; consumer behavior; purchase motives; consumption practices